Sheer Energy

September 15, 2014

“Sunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor.  Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?  Seek out the source which shines forever.”
~ Rumi


Here in California, where September and October are often our hottest months, the fact that the summer season is a week away from ending seems to be true only by the calender.  On sweltering days such as these, the thermostat is witness to the Sun’s enduring power.  So, in tribute to our mighty Sun, here is some super cool news about solar energy:

Solar panels that you can see through:
Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a see-thru solar panel.  Called a Transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrator, it can provide power without harming esthetics.  These solar energy producing cells can be placed over windows, buildings, cell phone screens or any other device with a clear surface.  The transparent nature of these solar cells is created by using materials that only absorb light waves from the Sun that are invisible to the human eye.

The Future of Solar Energy is Bright:
According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, solar energy will be the central driver for our future economy, providing huge opportunities for investors.  Within 20 years, the United States will be able meet between 50 and 100% of its energy requirements from solar power.  The cost of solar panels is dropping exponentially and energy storage methods are improving rapidly (capturing the Sun’s power during the day and being able to use it through the night).  Best of all, the Sun is a democratic power. Energy from the Sun is free and the poorest countries in the world are often the sunniest.

The World’s Largest Solar Plant is Now in California:
The Ivanpah Electric Generating System became operational just before Valentine’s Day earlier this year.  At full capacity, the plant produces enough electricity to provide 140,000 homes with clean energy, which is the environmental equivalent of getting 72,000 pollution-making cars off the road.

Leading by Example:
In April of this year, the Obama administration launched the Capital Solar Challenge, which directs Federal agencies, military installations and Federally-subsidized complexes to develop and deploy solar renewable power on Federal rooftops, covered parking and appropriate open land, as well as municipal buildings and Federally-assisted housing in the Washington, D.C. area.  In fact, the installation of solar panels onto the roof of the White House was completed in May.  The U.S. Department of Defense, the single largest consumer of energy in the United States, has committed to deploying 3 gigawatts of renewable energy, including solar, by 2025.

Solar Works:
Solar jobs have grown by more than 50% since 2010. In 2013 alone, the global solar industry expanded by 100%, resulting in 2.3 million jobs worldwide.  Jobs in the solar industry start at around $27,000 dollars (minimal education and less than 2 years experience).  The solar careers that are most in demand now are Solar Installation Engineer, Solar Panel Sales, Solar Maintenance, Solar Electrician and Solar Project Designer.

“To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

As the dark half of the year approaches, give thanks for the Sun and its virtually limitless power and potential.


Hibiscus Gelatine is a sophisticated and refreshing end-of-summer treat.


Hibiscus Gelatine
Topped with fresh raspberries, this delicately-flavored dessert makes a lovely palette cleanser between courses or a cool and refreshing not-too-sweet end to a meal.  You can also experiment with other teas, such as Earl Grey, green tea or flower/herbal infusions such as rose or lavender.  You can double this recipe for more servings.

2 cups water
2 organic hibiscus tea bags
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (such as Knox)
3 tablespoons organic sugar (or to taste)
Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Heat water just to boiling and pour over teabags in a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl.  Let steep until dark red in color.  Remove tea bags (squeeze liquid from teabags back into bowl) and discard.  Measure out about 1/2 cup of the liquid into a small, shallow bowl and chill until cold.  Set aside remaining tea.

Remove bowl of chilled tea from fridge.  Sprinkle envelope of gelatin evenly over surface of cold tea in bowl.  Let stand about 5 minutes (this is called “blooming” the gelatin, as it will expand and soften).

Heat remaining tea in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir in sugar until dissolved.  Stir in bloomed gelatin and stir until dissolved (check by dipping a spoon into mixture – there should be no granules).

Pour into individual goblets or dessert bowls.  Chill overnight in fridge.

To serve: top with raspberries.

Serves 2




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